The Sun (Malaysia)

Rice subsidy abolished

> New mechanism to help the less fortunate, prevent abuse

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BERA: The Agricultur­e and Agro-based Industry Ministry will find a new mechanism to help the less fortunate to buy rice following the move to remove the subsidy programme for lower grade ST15 rice next year.

Its minister, Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek, said: “The rice subsidy programme was introduced in 2008 when the government considered how to provide rice at low prices. However, there are drawbacks in the implementa­tion, and we do not want rice issued for Malaysians to finally get into the hands of others,” he told reporters after opening the first Agro-Supermarke­t in Malaysia, here, yesterday.

Shabery said another mechanism under considerat­ion was to give the money equivalent to the amount of subsidy for a bag of rice, that is RM7.50, to the target groups so that they could use it to buy better quality rice.

He said the ministry would also discuss with the Finance Ministry and the Rural and Regional Developmen­t Ministry, which looked into the interests of rubber tappers and smallholde­rs, who were the target group for the subsidy programme.

He said the government spent RM530 million annually for the ST15 rice subsidy programme, but observatio­ns found that a lot of the rice was bought by foreigners and restaurant­s.

Yesterday, the ministry’s Rice and Padi Industry Division secretary Samsuddin Ismail in a statement announced the abolition of the ST15 subsidy as there were many leakages found in the system.

ST15 rice is local rice that has 15% broken rice whose quality is slightly lower than the ST5 rice purchased by the majority with only 5% content of broken rice. – Bernama

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